Allergies are becoming more and more common and troublesome in cats and dogs.
The most common symptoms we see are excessive scratching, licking and paw
chewing. If you have ruled out other causes of your companion’s itchiness
such as mange, ringworm or infection, then the following guidelines can help you
alleviate the allergy itch.
Other allergy symptoms (typically from inhalant allergies):
Additional symptoms of food allergies:
Some holistic veterinarians also believe that seizures, arthritis, asthma and chronic
urinary tract infections can be caused or complicated by food allergies.
Keep in mind that any secondary bacterial or yeast infections must be treated
before much progress can be seen in remediation of the underlying cause of the itchy
skin. Hot spots occur from self-inflicted trauma that results when the pet attempts
to relieve a pain or itch by excessive scratching, biting and rubbing. These must
be controlled with topical treatments while the animal’s immune system is recovering.
Itchy skin and allergy symptoms such as paw chewing have also been linked to
over-vaccination in a large number of cases. See
The Truth About Pet Vaccinations for more details.
One of the most common causes of itchy skin is fleas and flea allergies.
If you suspect fleas, please see our article,
The Natural Approach to Flea Control. Flea control is an essential
step in the treatment plan for any animal with allergies.
Essential Steps: Diet, Digestive Enzymes, EFAs
Diet: Many dogs with food sensitivities and allergies have seen
dramatic improvement on a raw food diet. If not raw, consider home-prepared cooked
meals along with a very high quality canned food or dehydrated food as at least
50% of the diet. Basically, the fresher the diet, the better it is for your companion’s
health & immune system. If you feed kibble as part of the diet, try to use the best
quality you can afford and choose a hypoallergenic variety without the most common
allergens such as wheat, corn, soy and chicken. For more information, read
What You Need to Know About Your Pet's Food and
All About Raw Food.
Digestive Enzymes: Supplement the diet with Digestive Enzymes & Probiotics.
The probiotics are especially important for an animal that has been on steroids
and antibiotics as they kill the healthy gut flora and set up conditions for the
allergies to worsen. Continue to supplement with this whenever you feed processed
food to aid digestion and assimilation of the nutrients in processed foods:
Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs): Supplement with
Essential Fatty Acids (preferably fish oil) to nourish your companion’s skin
and coat and help reduce inflammation. You can increase the dosage above what is
recommended on the bottle, but if you see loose stools, then reduce the dosage a
Supplements to help modulate the immune system are very helpful in treating allergies. Only Natural Pet Immune Balance is an excellent supplement for immune modulation during the initial treatment of allergies.
Detoxification is essential for any animal that has been treated with multiple
courses of medications such as steroids, antibiotics or antihistamines. Steroids
are particularly taxing on the animal’s liver.
Click here to view the selection of detoxification products available at Only Natural Pet Store.
Relieving the Itch
Herbs and supplements designed to relieve the itchy skin and support skin health
are another step in the treatment program for chronic allergies. This can help relieve
the stress caused by the discomfort, which is supportive of immune function and
healing. In addition, reducing the itch helps in the reduction of secondary infections
and allows the skin to heal.
Skin Balance by Health Concerns is an excellent herbal complex for the treatment
of itchy skin in dogs (the tablets are too big for cats and need to be crushed to
adminster them to cats). The herbs in Skin Balance reduce inflammation and itching
as well as boost skin health and assist in the cleansing of the blood.
HomeoPet Skin and Itch Relief, a homeopathic remedy, may be helpful for
some animals. This will be more effective once any residual steroids or medications
have been cleared from the system.
HomeoPet Hot Spots is similar to the Skin and Itch Relief formula, but contains
additional remedies to address the red, inflamed or oozing hot spot areas.
Click here to view the selection of itch relief products available at Only Natural Pet Store
If your dog or cat has been itching for awhile, they may have created bare, red
patches in places that can become infected, so you need to address these areas right
away. Here are some products offered at Only Natural Pet Store that can help.
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The articles and information in the Holistic Healthcare Library are presented for
informational purposes only and are not intended as an endorsement of any product.
The information is not intended to be a substitute for visits to your local veterinarian.
Instead, the content offers the reader information and opinions written by our staff,
guest authors, and/or veterinarians concerning animal health issues and animal care